Posts for November 12, 2012

Coppola Releases His First Rubicon Wine Under the Inglenook Label

Francis Ford Coppola today announced that his 2009 Rubicon has now been released under the renowned Inglenook label.* He has long owned the fabled Inglenook property, once thought to be Napa's equivalent of "premier cru," and he recently acquired the brand name, which had languished and become associated in the middle of the last century with cheap jug wine. But back in the day, from about 1890 into the 1940s, Inglenook was a world-class, Bordeaux-style wine appreciated by connoisseurs long before Napa made a name for itself on the world stage in the seventies. Coppola purchased the vineyard and wine facilty under the name of Gustave Niebaum, who had owned Inglenook, and renamed it Niebaum-Coppola, but he's now restored its original name, and intends to restore the Inglenook name to greatness over the next couple of decades — noting that in grape-growing terms, it may take that long to coax the full potential out of the land, even if he himself might not live to see it. The 2009 Rubicon, with the Inglenook label, is retailing for $200. [Earlier]

* This post has been corrected to show that Coppola actually released one wine previous to this one, the 2009 CASK Cabernet, under the Inglenook label.

Bauer Loves the Space, But Is Just So-So on the Food at The Thomas in Napa

Michael Bauer headed to downtown Napa for his Sunday review to check out The Thomas and the newly restored Fagiani's Bar. As you may know, the place was the site of a terrible murder in 1974 and remained closed ever since, until a New York restaurant group bought it and fully renovated the place over the past year. Bauer's impressed with the design and renovation, saying that despite all the new additions, "it looks as if they'd simply dusted off the walls" of the old space, and it feels like "an exciting place to be." He likes some of the food, including the carrot-ginger soup, the pork chop with quince aioli, and the wood-grilled salmon. But overall, he writes, "Good intentions are evident, but the execution often goes awry." He's also pretty critical of the service, which he calls "slipshod." The verdict: two stars overall, with three for atmosphere. [Chron]

Don Pisto’s Pete Mrabe Opening a Sandwich Shop in North Beach

Tucked into his new review of Don Pisto's, Examiner critic Jesse Hirsch reminds us that chef-owner Pete Mrabe, who also operates Chubby Noodle at nearby Amante, is opening a deli and sandwich shop soon at 728 Vallejo Street (at Stockton). Tablehopper originally reported on the news over the summer, suggesting it would be open by now, but as with all things, it's been delayed. Mrabe is planning to sell a "huge" selection of cold cuts, including fresh pastas, some house-made meats like pastrami and pickled beef tongue, and there will be hot sandwiches too. Stay tuned for more details, like a name and an opening date, sometime soon. (As for Don Pisto's, Hirsch says everything is still pretty solid, especially the shrimp tacos and the pollo asado.) [Examiner, Tablehopper]

White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles Exist

Limited edition.Photo: Courtesy Kellogg's

Here's the first sign that a White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles flavor does, in fact, exist. Legend says a crack team of snack researchers engineered these chips to evoke a one-night stand between a naïve Idaho potato and a semi-tragic, cocoa-buttery candy cane with an indistinguishable accent. Was that Finnish she was spoke? We'll never know. Anyhow, these chips are apparently keeping their holiday-themed brethren flavor Cinnamon Sugar in good company on grocery-store shelves across the nation. There's also a Pumpkin Pie Spice kind, but you must travel to Wal-Mart for that one.

Benefit Tonight at Rebel for East Coast Sandy Victims

Though Rebel isn't really a full-time bar anymore, co-owner Paul Miller is throwing a benefit there tonight to raise money for the Red Cross to help victims of Superstorm Sandy. It's from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a suggested donation of $50, and a minimum donation at the door of $20. Admission includes drinks, and you should go. [Facebook]

Seasons, at the Four Seasons, Closes for Revamp

Seasons, the luxe restaurant on the lobby level (the fifth floor) of the Four Seasons Hotel (757 Market Street), just closed by surprise for a six-month overhaul. The team reached out to announce the closing, effective immediately, but the Seasons Bar and Lounge will remain open with food service throughout the day, throughout the renovation. Hotel restaurants have been struggling with their identities around town in the past couple of years, with Parallel 37 replacing The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton late last year; Michael Mina at the St. Francis transforming into Bourbon Steak in 2010; and Seasons itself rebranding as a steakhouse last year. It remains to be seen what the new concept and name will be at Seasons, though they promise some announcements in early 2013, with a reopening scheduled around late May.

Poisonous Mushroom Soup Kills Two at Northern California Nursing Home

Don't even think about it.

This past weekend brought another cautionary tale for all amateur foragers out there: Two elderly women died and four other people were sickened after consuming some wild mushroom soup at an assisted living facility in Placer County, California. Barbara Lopes, 86, and Teresa Olesniewicz, 73, both died Friday, and the caregiver who harvested the mushrooms and made the soup was also hospitalized, along with three others.

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Anthony Bourdain Is Still Pretty Angry About That Whole Cadillac Thing

"Though not quite a virgin, I have tried to remain fairly pure."Photo: Sean Mathis/WireImage

The reason Anthony Bourdain tweeted a fist-full of expletives at the Travel Channel and Cadillac last week on the night of the No Reservations series finale is simply because Anthony Bourdain does not sell out. "It was clearly expressed in writing," he explains on Tumblr today, "clearly understood and agreed to that I would not use or mention any products in my show and my name and image would not be used in connection with any products in return for anything of value or any other consideration without my specific agreement." The chef and TV personality also apologizes to any of the car manufacturer's assembly line workers he may have inadvertantly offended. [Anthony Bourdain/Tumblr, Earlier]

Catbird Breakfast Club, a New Underground Pop-Up, Arrives in Berkeley

Breakfast in the garden.Photo: via Facebook

A new underground brunch option has just arrived in Berkeley called Catbird Breakfast Club, which is the work of chef Ciara Sanker. It's a side project for Sanker who also co-founded Rogue Café, a Sunday pop-up she started with local coffee roasters OneNinetySeven (she's actually not involved with that anymore). Catbird happens on Saturdays only, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Sanker's own garden, outside her cottage a few blocks from Berkeley Bowl. So far in its first weeks it's mostly been attended by friends and friends of friends, but she'd like to open it up to the local community in so far as space allows. The menu, which changes weekly, features things homemade pistachio morning buns; leek bread pudding; soft cooked egg and Serrano ham on toast with tomato, watercress and chimichurri; and samfaina, a Catalan version of ratatouille served with a marinated egg. Because it's underground and has limited capacity, Sanker only gives out the address by request, via Facebook. She hopes to keep the operation going through the winter and next year, weather permitting, but keep an eye out for potential rain days.

Downtown’s Café Metropol Shutters

Twenty-year-old Café Metropol (168 Sutter Street) has closed, as the Scoop is reporting, because owners Klaus and Albert Rainer decided to sell the lease. The Rainers have chosen to concentrate on their other business, the ever-popular, two-year-old Leopold's in Russian Hill, and they may have another project in the works that they can't yet talk about. All they'll say is that it's "within two miles" of Leopold's. [Scoop]

Belcampo Meat Company, a New Model for Sustainable Meat, Opens in Marin


Back in September we told you about Belcampo Meat Co., the new sustainable meat venture from Slow Food Nation and Eat Real Fest founder Anya Fernald and partner Todd Robinson. Friday marked the soft opening of the butcher shop and restaurant at Marin County Mart in Larkspur, but the business goes beyond just sandwiches and a meat counter — they're pioneering a new model for humane, whole-animal meat production beginning with their own farm in the Shasta Valley, and their own Temple Grandin-designed slaughter facilty in Yreka. In addition to beef, they're raising and selling their own pork, goat, chicken, squab, rabbit, and more. And for those who might be disinclined to go to Marin for their meat, you can look forward to Belcampo opening a San Francisco shop next spring, location TBA.

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Gitane Closed This Week After Friday Fire

It's unclear how much got scorched.Photo: Courtesy of Gitane

A small fire at Gitane on Friday forced the temporary closure of the restaurant, and there was reportedly some damage done in the dining room. Coincidentally, this was the same night that chefs Bridget Batson and the newly hired Patrick Kelly (also Batson's husband) were launching their new, Andalusian-focused menu and the new tasting menu upstairs. A release from the team says they hope to reopen this Thursday, November 15, and in the meantime both chefs will move next door to Claudine. There's no word on where or how the fire started.


Recent reader reviews on MenuPages

  • Lucca Food Store See the menu

    “Billy's Philly”

    Billy is only there after 5 pm but if you are around go there and ask for his billy philly, the best philly you'll find this side of the Mississippi.

  • Le P'tit Laurent See the menu

    “Elegant Sauces & Fabulous Bread”

    It is the place me and my love go for every intimate moment.

  • Hidive See the menu

    “Are you kidding?”

    You have to be totally drunk to think that this is even acceptable as a public watering hole.


Jay Barmann
NY Mag